Stanford East Asian Studies

Self has never been to a Stanford Alumni Homecoming. Not one. Even though her house is only six miles from Stanford.

Today, to honor how her parents supported her through a masters in East Asian Studies, concentration in Chinese, she picks up one of her East Asian Studies textbooks: China’s Imperial Past: An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture, by Charles O. Hucker.

p. 208:

The Buddha won converts in part because it is clear that his was an electric personality. But he also had a superb intellect, and his conception of the human condition was at once breathtakingly brilliant and utterly simple. Its essence is: There is no Brahma; there is no Atman. What keeps you in this world of illusion, propelling you from one life to the next, is no more than your own craving for existence and for self-ness. If you really want to get off the merry-go-round of endless suffering and rebirth, then realize you are on it only because you want to be. To get off, all you have to do is let go!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


And, Once More Unto the Breach

Benefits of being a lifetime member of the Stanford Alumni Association (A Message from the Director of the Association). This is rather a quaint little benefit that self has never had to avail of. Nevertheless, while cleaning out a drawer, she found this note and read it again:

Enclosed is your Stanford Alumni Association key tag, engraved with your life membership number. Please use your six digit life membership number whenever you correspond with the Stanford Alumni Association or use your member benefits.

Your specially coded tag can help you recover your keys, should you ever lose them. If someone finds your keys, all they have to do is drop them in any mailbox. The Alumni Association will guarantee postage and contact you for instructions on how to return them.

Your key tag is your lifetime gift from the Stanford Alumni Association. Please contact us if it becomes lost or damaged, and we’ll replace it free of charge! Let us know when you change your address or telephone number so we can contact you if your keys are returned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


Preparing for the New Year

An excerpt from Song Lyric # 43 by 12th century Chinese poet Li Qingzhao:

I’ve heard spring is still lovely at Twin Streams,
I’d like to go boating in a light skiff there
But fear the tiny grasshopper boats they have
Would not carry
Such a quantity of sorrow.

A book by Stanford Professor of Sinology Ronald Egan, The Burden of Female Talent: The Poet Li Qingzhao and Her History in China (Harvard Asia Center, 2013), analyzes her legacy.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Great Article: Thank You VF.Com

It starts with a training seminar at Stanford. One of those that Stanford makes its employees take to highlight an issue: in this case, sexual harassment. It begins with some chit-chat about high jinks at a primate research center.

A primate research center.

Bet the woman leading the seminar never expected to be the lead-in to an article about the “spiraling Stanford sex scandal.”

Self must admit, when she saw the headline of the article, she had to do a double-take.

Unfortunately for the hapless seminar leader, there was a plant.

Who began by asking a seemingly innocent question:

“So the policy that Stanford has actually says that where such a recusal is required you must notify your supervisor, department chair, or dean,” he said. “What if the person involved is the Dean?”

No problemo. The seminar leader says, without batting an eyelash: You should go straight to the provost.

The man presses on: “Suppose Ed was a Dean and Melissa was a senior faculty member who was married to another senior faculty member and Ed was involved in a relationship with Melissa. Ed would have to recuse himself from making decisions about both Melissa and her husband?”

“Do you know something I don’t know?” the seminar leader asks.

The man says he might.

“Don’t out him or her here!” the seminar leader (who happens to be a lawyer) says quickly.


Self thinks that seminar leader is quite charming. Very snappy and quick in her responses. She seems to be kidding when she tells the question man: “You and I need to talk outside!”

Read the rest of the delicious story here.

Kudos, writer David Margolick.

Stay tuned.

I WILL NEVER OWN ENOUGH BOOKS Spreads AmazeSauce over Self’s Saturday!

Today, I Will Never Own Enough Books nominated self for the CREATIVE BLOGGER AWARD!

Epic Blush!

The rules say that self has to share five facts about herself. So here goes:

  1. Her favorite indulgence is reading Everlark fan fiction.
  2. She was a Fellow in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program.
  3. Her 2nd favorite indulgence is watching plays. The last play she saw (July 2015) was “King John” at the Globe in London.
  4. She loves riding trains.
  5. She has written a 9/11 story called “Wavering” (Published in a literary magazine now defunct, boo).

So here are self’s five nominees:

  1. TheGypsyMind16
  2. The Alchemist’s Kitchen
  3. Kick-Ass Ireland!
  4. cassandra jp
  5. Kahakai Kitchen


Stanford Creative Writing: How Self Came To Be

Self is thinking this more and more: how different her life would have been if she hadn’t taken that summer creative writing class from John L’Heureux, who was the Director of the Stanford Creative Writing Program back then.

He told self she should try applying, and since she didn’t have anything better to do (BWAH. HA. HA), she did. And lo and behold, she got a fellowship.

That’s how she met Penny Jackson, Beth Coryell Alvarado, Ehud Havazelet, and Jeffrey Eugenides.

Now, she’s checking out the Stanford Creative Writing Program website, which she only does about twice a year. She discovers that the Program’s been at Stanford “for more than 50 years,” and that it was founded by Wallace Stegner in 1946.

Well, I’ll be darned.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Orange 3: Various Settings

No matter how many times self watches the sunset here, she will never tire of it. It is always beautiful.

Mendocino Sunset

Mendocino Sunset


For a change of pace, something NOT Mendocino. In case dear blog readers are wondering: the tiles. Orange much? Kidding.

Cubberley, Stanford campus: the day self spoke to Valerie Miner's students

Cubberley, Stanford campus: the day self spoke to Valerie Miner’s students

She wore a red top that day (Because the Stanford color is Cardinal). And the first thing Prof. Valerie Miner told her when they met up at the Faculty Club was: “I know where you got that. Mendocino. The Great Put-On. I have one just like it.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Reflections, Yesterday

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

Feb. 12, 2015: Saw this outside the Stanford Bookstore.

It was warm yesterday! While walking around the Stanford University campus, self saw that someone had stuck glittery red hearts around the planter box in front of the Bookstore. The Post Office looked exactly the same. They’re tearing down Meyer. Which means self will have to re-write the stories she’s set there. Yes, she does have stories set in Meyer Library.

The students she spoke to yesterday certainly made her think. Yes, she told them, the stories in Mayor of the Roses were written while she worked at Stanford at various administrative jobs.

Did you ever go to The Bridge (24-hour free counseling service on campus), someone asked. Of course! self replied. Didn’t everybody?

Self told the students that she had a more recent story about the Bridge, but in tone the story is as different from the one in Mayor of the Roses as night and day. In self’s story, which appeared in Waccamaw, the Bridge is a counseling hot-line called 1-800-U-R-Saved. The story is “Bridging.”

She talked about her Creative Writing Program years, and how she felt at the time she wrote the stories in the collection. She really really wanted to take a picture of Professor Miner’s copy of Mayor of the Roses because it was completely marked up. Notes on the margins, arrows pointing every which way. Looked like a piece of post-modern art.

She told the students she was writing science fiction now.

The time was really too short.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Yellow: Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge

The Daily Post’s Photo Challenge this week is YELLOW.

Participating bloggers are asked to post something focusing on the color yellow, whether it be lemons. Or flowers. Or sunlight.

Self’s 1st example of yellow is a tablecloth. The table was on the Venice Beach Pier:


Her 2nd example of yellow is a lit corridor in the History Corner of the Main Quad, Stanford University campus. Self took the picture one evening last fall when she was on her way to Annenberg to catch a Robert Frank documentary on the Rolling Stones’ Exile on Main Street tour:


Finally: sunflowers. Self bought a bunch one day from her local farmers market:

DSCN7054Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

How Did Self Get Here?

She took a summer course in Creative Writing from John L’Heureux. He told her he thought she should apply to the Creative Writing Program. Because she was out of ideas about what to do with her life (Her ideas only carried her as far as six months into the future), she dutifully applied. She got in. She had no idea she’d spend the next two years sitting around a table with 11 other people, talking about each other’s writing as if it married. No idea that writing, at least in America, was considered very hard work. She didn’t know why her fellow fellows spent so much time in Antonio’s Nut House on California Avenue.

She didn’t know that the tall skinny lad with the piercing green eyes who was called Read the rest of this entry »

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